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  • 18 May 2010
  • Posted By Trita Parsi
  • 2 Comments
  • Diplomacy, Sanctions

Iran’s Nuke Deal Irritates Washington

Washington Push for Iran Sanctions Complicated By Nuclear Fuel Deal

A noticeable irritation can be sensed in Washington. After months of investing in a new UN Security Council resolution and an escalation of the conflict and apparently winning agreement among the permanent members of the council for such a measure two emerging powers had the audacity to intervene and find a solution. Brazil and Turkey should keep their expectations low, however, because there will not be any thank you party for them in Washington anytime soon.

Only two days after the announcement of the Brazilian-Turkish brokered deal with Iran that would see 1,200 kg of Iran’s low enriched uranium shipped out of the country, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a Senate panel that the United States and its partners seeking new sanctions against Iran have come up with a draft proposal for a new round of penalties. UN Ambassador Susan Rice held a press conference at the UN today unveiling the new resolution.

  • 18 August 2009
  • Posted By Trita Parsi
  • 3 Comments
  • Diplomacy, Nuclear file, Persian Gulf, Sanctions, US-Iran War

Throwing Ahmadinejad a Lifeline

The following is an op-ed published in Friday’s edition of the New York Times by NIAC President Trita Parsi and GWU professor Hossein Askari:

In an effort to squeeze Iran into submission over its nuclear policy, Congress and the White House are edging toward a gasoline embargo. This would do nothing to force Iran into submission. In fact, it would be a blessing for the hard-line government to once again be able to point to a foreign threat to justify domestic repression and consolidate its base at a time when opposition to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is increasing among conservatives.

An effective gasoline embargo can only be implemented through a naval blockade. This would require U.N. Security Council approval — a tortuous process with no certain outcome. An embargo without U.N. approval is an act of war according to international law, and Iran has declared that it would be met with force.

  • 30 July 2009
  • Posted By Trita Parsi
  • 0 Comments
  • Diplomacy, Iran Election 2009

Make Them Wait: The case for a tactical pause with Iran

By Trita Parsi. Cross posted from Foreign Policy Magazine:

ahmadinejad_8No one said diplomacy with Iran would be easy. And now, before it even started, the Iranian election crisis has left Tehran politically paralyzed and Washington without a clear diplomatic path ahead. Iranian centrifuges keep spinning, leading some to think that September should be the deadline for Iran to accept the U.S. offer of talks. Although diplomacy must remain the policy, the momentous upheaval in Iran has completely changed the political landscape. Opening talks with Iran’s current government at this decisive moment could backfire severely. Indeed, now is the time for a tactical pause with Iran.

  • 20 July 2009
  • Posted By Trita Parsi
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Let me introduce you to one of the people imprisoned in Iran

cross posted from HuffingtonPost:

Bijan Khajehpour

Bijan Khajehpour

As Iran’s election crisis continues, hundreds if not thousands of prisoners remain in Iran’s notorious Evin prison. Few of them have faces known to the outside world. Some of them may have protested in the streets. Others were in Mir Hussein Moussavi’s inner circle. Still others had nothing to do with either the protests or the opposition. We know very little about all of these prisoners. We may not even know their names.

Let me introduce you to one of them. His name is Bijan Khajehpour.

Bijan is one of the many prisoners who neither participated in the protests nor had any involvement with the opposition. In fact, he wasn’t involved in party politics in any way. He is a self-made man, who built a solid reputation as one of the country’s leading economic and political analysts as the founder and CEO of Iran’s leading business consultancy, Atieh Bahar Consulting.

  • 8 June 2009
  • Posted By Trita Parsi
  • 2 Comments
  • Iran Election 2009, Sanctions

Ahmadinejad’s little helpers

cross posted from HuffingtonPost:

Tehran is a happening place this week. Major US papers report of street rallies and parties, shouting matches between supporters of rival candidates and a general carnival atmosphere. Of course, many are only taking advantage of freedoms that solely descend on Iran days before presidential elections. This is the time to do what one otherwise can’t do – party, dance in the streets and yell out anger at Iran’s many injustices. But many are also genuinely excited about the prospects for change in the June 12 elections.

Mir Hossein Moussavi, the centrist-reformist candidate, is the main benefactor of this wave of excitement. But Ahmadinejad has helpers in unexpected places: The US Congress.

  • 20 April 2009
  • Posted By Trita Parsi
  • 4 Comments
  • Diplomacy, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Why Roxana?

cross posted from HuffingtonPost:

Tehran’s sentencing of Roxana Saberi to eight years of prison for spying has shocked people inside and outside the country. At a time when President Barack Obama is seeking a dialogue with Tehran, what kind of a signal does Roxana’s sentencing send, particularly since Iran didn’t live up to the standards of justice it has obligated itself to per the many conventions Iran is a party to?

According to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI), the Iranian authorities didn’t even disclose the laws she allegedly violated, nor did they announce under what article of the law she is indicted.

Saberi, an Iranian-American journalist who has been living in Iran since 2003, was first arrested in January. She was charged with the crime of buying wine. The charge was later changed to engaging in illegal activities by continuing to report after her press credentials were revoked in 2006. Then, on April 13, 2009, the authorities changed the charge once more during her one-day trial behind the scenes. Now she was accused of spying for the US government.

As Hadi Ghaemi of ICHRI has pointed out, “to arrest Saberi for buying wine and suddenly uncover evidence a week before her trial that she was spying for the United States government lacks credibility.”

So why is this happening to Saberi? Most analyst agree that she has become a pawn in the political games between the US and Iran, though the explanations for Tehran’s actions differ.

  • 7 April 2009
  • Posted By Trita Parsi
  • 0 Comments
  • Diplomacy, Israel, Nuclear file, Persian Gulf, US-Iran War

Netanyahu and threat of bombing Iran – the bluff that never stops giving?

cross posted from HuffingtonPost.com:

In an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic, incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed to have told President Barack Obama that either America stops Iran or Israel will. Not surprisingly, the interview sparked quite a controversy and only a day later, General David Petreus told the Senate Arms Services Committee that “the Israeli government may ultimately see itself so threatened by the prospect of an Iranian nuclear weapon that it would take preemptive military action to derail or delay it.”

So once again, in spite of President Obama’s best efforts, the military option was put back on the table and the atmosphere for dealing with Iran was turned into “Do as we say – or else…” Even if the President wants to give diplomacy a chance, disbelievers have been quick to limit Obama’s options by seeking to set arbitrary deadlines for negotiations – or by threatening Israeli military action if America doesn’t act with its military might.

Reality is, however, that talk of an Israeli military option is more of a bluff than a threat – but it is a bluff that never seems to stop giving.

  • 18 July 2008
  • Posted By Trita Parsi
  • 3 Comments
  • Diplomacy

Haaretz: These Enemies Have Faces

By Trita Parsi and Roi Ben-Yehuda

July 18, 2008

The looming Iran-Israel confrontation has a seemingly deterministic quality to it. Listening to the politicians, one gets a sense that powers beyond our control are pulling us toward a 21st-century disaster. Yet a great deal of the force propelling us into confrontation is fueled by ignorance and dehumanization. Israel is demonized as “Little Satan,” while Iranians are portrayed as irrational Muslim extremists.

  • 14 May 2008
  • Posted By Trita Parsi
  • 7 Comments
  • Iranian American activism

What Do Google and Saddam Have in Common?

Google has a funny way of doing business — one that involves muddying politics in the Middle East.

In recent months, the organization has taken the unprecedented step to rename internationally recognized bodies of water. Google Earth has begun using the controversial term “Arabian Gulf” to the body of water traditionally and internationally identified as the “Persian Gulf.”

Now many may think: What’s in a name? Why would this even be an issue?

In the Middle East, nothing is just a name. And with more than 180,000 US troops in this unstable region, being oblivious to the politics of geographical renaming is dangerous.

  • 9 May 2008
  • Posted By Trita Parsi
  • 4 Comments
  • Diplomacy, Panel Discussion, US-Iran War

Can P5+1 Offer Break the Nuclear Stalemate?

There is little doubt that Tehran will reject the secret P5+1 nuclear offer since it crosses Iran’s red line — suspension of enrichment. The proposal is scheduled Though reinvigorating diplomacy is much needed, the question is why the Security Council powers would make an offer that few believe will break the stalemate at this point – that is, at a time when tensions Iran and the US over Iraq is quickly escalating?

In the piece below, published by Inter Press Services today, I discuss why Tehran is so inflexible on the issue of suspension based on its previous negotiating experience with the EU and why Washington’s insistence on this precondition is leading to a situation in which “the perfect is becoming the enemy of the good.”

Tehran sees two key problems with the suspension precondition. First, Iran has taken away from earlier negotiations with the EU that suspension becomes a trap unless the West at the outset commits to solutions that recognise Iran’s right to enrichment, i.e. that won’t cause the suspension to become permanent.

Iran entered talks with Europe in 2003 under the impression that the parties would identify “objective criteria” that would enable Tehran to exercise its rights under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty while providing the international community with guarantees that the Iranian nuclear programme would remain strictly civilian. During the course of the talks, however, Europe shifted its position. The only acceptable criteria would be for Iran not to engage in uranium enrichment in the first place, the EU began to argue.

Consequently, Tehran felt trapped since the objective had shifted from seeking a peaceful Iranian enrichment programme to seeking the elimination of Iran’s enrichment capabilities.”

The full piece can be found here: http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=42307

/trita

Sign the Petition

 

7,349 signatures

Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, California 94043

Dear Mr. Page:

It has come to our attention that Google has begun omitting the title of the Persian Gulf from its Google Maps application. This is a disconcerting development given the undisputed historic and geographic precedent of the name Persian Gulf, and the more recent history of opening up the name to political, ethnic, and territorial disputes. However unintentionally, in adopting this practice, Google is participating in a dangerous effort to foment tensions and ethnic divisions in the Middle East by politicizing the region’s geographic nomenclature. Members of the Iranian-American community are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts, particularly at a time when regional tensions already have been pushed to the brink and threaten to spill over into conflict. As the largest grassroots organization in the Iranian-American community, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) calls on Google to not allow its products to become propaganda tools and to immediately reinstate the historically accurate, apolitical title of “Persian Gulf” in all of its informational products, including Google Maps.

Historically, the name “Persian Gulf” is undisputed. The Greek geographer and astronomer Ptolemy referencing in his writings the “Aquarius Persico.” The Romans referred to the "Mare Persicum." The Arabs historically call the body of water, "Bahr al-Farsia." The legal precedent of this nomenclature is also indisputable, with both the United Nations and the United States Board of Geographic Names confirming the sole legitimacy of the term “Persian Gulf.” Agreement on this matter has also been codified by the signatures of all six bordering Arab countries on United Nations directives declaring this body of water to be the Persian Gulf.

But in the past century, and particularly at times of escalating tensions, there have been efforts to exploit the name of the Persian Gulf as a political tool to foment ethnic division. From colonial interests to Arab interests to Iranian interests, the opening of debate regarding the name of the Persian Gulf has been a recent phenomenon that has been exploited for political gain by all sides. Google should not enable these politicized efforts.

In the 1930s, British adviser to Bahrain Sir Charles Belgrave proposed to rename the Persian Gulf, “Arabian Gulf,” a proposal that was rejected by the British Colonial and Foreign offices. Two decades later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company resurrected the term during its dispute with Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian Prime Minister whose battle with British oil interests would end in a U.S.-sponsored coup d'état that continues to haunt U.S.-Iran relations. In the 1960s, the title “Arabian Gulf” became central to propaganda efforts during the Pan-Arabism era aimed at exploiting ethnic divisions in the region to unite Arabs against non-Arabs, namely Iranians and Israelis. The term was later employed by Saddam Hussein to justify his aims at territorial expansion. Osama Bin Laden even adopted the phrase in an attempt to rally Arab populations by emphasizing ethnic rivalries in the Middle East.

We have serious concerns that Google is now playing into these efforts of geographic politicization. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Google has stirred controversy on this topic. In 2008, Google Earth began including the term “Arabian Gulf” in addition to Persian Gulf as the name for the body of water. NIAC and others called on you then to stop using this ethnically divisive propaganda term, but to no avail. Instead of following the example of organizations like the National Geographic Society, which in 2004 used term “Arabian Gulf” in its maps but recognized the error and corrected it, Google has apparently decided to allow its informational products to become politicized.

Google should rectify this situation and immediately include the proper name for the Persian Gulf in Google Maps and all of its informational products. The exclusion of the title of the Persian Gulf diminishes your applications as informational tools, and raises questions about the integrity and accuracy of information provided by Google.

We strongly urge you to stay true to Google’s mission – “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” – without distorting or politicizing that information. We look forward to an explanation from you regarding the recent removal of the Persian Gulf name from Google Maps and call on you to immediately correct this mistake.

Sincerely,

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